Unbeknownst to most, the JCMB is actually only the top floors of a massive underground labyrinth. The best way to survive this maze is to wait around for an older student or staff member; they're usually going somewhere, and it's bound to be better than the god-forsaken corridor you are in now. Sooner or later in your student life, however, you will find yourself in a dusty, dim and dauntingly desolate corridor from which there is no escape. You have now entered The Lower Levels.

Here, half-blind, shrunken old men scoot around, bent double over piles of arcane scrolls. They run in and out of mysterious rooms, from which strange glowing lights and humming noises emanate. The occasional lost student can be heard running around screaming, gone mad with the effort of trying to find the exits. You may be lucky enough to escape from this place, though I wouldn't count on it. Half the time you will simply end up descending deeper and deeper into the bowels of the Earth.

In here, dwarf miners search for veins of gold. Feasting halls tremble with the sound of a thousand drunken dwarves singing in what could tenuously be described as 'harmony'. Mine carts roll by, their contents tinged with yellow. Your hopes of escape are now slim... perhaps you should just give up and join the feast...

But you will know you are doomed when, forsaking the dwarves, you wander further into the maze, and the lights start to glow huantingly red instead of flourescent white. When the walls take on the texture of black granite. When the sounds of merrymaking are replaced by the distant sounds of roars, growls and the occasional scream... now all is lost.

A maze of little twisting passages, all alike.

To any americans (or indeed others) who may not know, in the UK the floor at ground level is the ground floor, i.e. floor number 0, and the one above that is the first floor. However, in JCMB, you could jump from the second floor without getting hurt, though you'd look a little silly - the numbering starts with one floor below ground level being level one.

That's not my point though. There are two first floors. You walk along the second floor corridor, and signs 'Floor 1' and 'Other Floor 1'. They are on the same floor though. But not joined except via the second floor. And one of the first floors' stairs are right in the middle of the second floor. Which is fun to go look for.

And as for the vulcan nerve pinch that apparently has to be applied to the lift buttons occasionaly to make it work - I wouldn't know, I'm not experienced enough in the lore of JCMB to do more than watch other JCMB-goers do it. And wonder.

Ahh... the lifts. In stark contrast to Appleton Tower's smarmy, condescending, artsy lifts, these are lifts suited to the science and engineering campus. These are science lifts.

The JCMB lifts do not announce what floor they're on. They don't cheerfully inform you that they are 'lift going up'. They stop. Without warning, or, seeingly, acceleration. They just stop. Keeping a cup of coffee in these lifts requires a lot of cup and ball practice. Even keeping a cup of coffee down is quite a feat.

The 'vulcan nerve pinch' is because the lifts don't have a 'close doors' button. I don't think they even have an 'open doors' button. It is a brave man who holds a lift in the JCMB... They're rumoured to take off limbs. To make the lift go, now, without any arguement, immediately, press the button for the current floor, and the desired floor at the same time - vulcan neck pinch!

These lifts were produced by otis, but according to the control panels, one was made by blotis, the other by potisgood. Who says nerds have no sense of humour...
And now, at great personal risk, I divulge the greatest secret of the JCMB - The one which we don't tell first-years because it's fun to see them wander around aimlessly. The rooms are numbered by floor, and then by corridor. So room 6124 is on a different corridor to 6345, and 5124 is below 6124. Odd numbered corridors are perpendicular to even-numbered ones. Armed with this knowledge, you'll be able to find anywhere in the JCMB.

Just stay away from 'other level 1', that's where the temporal anomaly that gives it its unique geometry (and cancels all mass the lifts should have) lives.

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